Hannover/Detmold, 24 April 2018.
The Weidmüller Group can look back on a successful 2017 financial year. Boosted by a very good market environment, the company generated sales of EUR 740.3 million, which corresponds to an increase of 8.8%. The company announced the results at its annual press conference during the Hannover Messe trade fair. “We are very satisfied with our performance. We exceeded our own forecast for 2017 and achieved the highest level of sales in the company’s history,” explains Jörg Timmermann, Speaker of the Weidmüller Executive Board. “We recognised the potential of digitalisation early on, and the investments in our new automation portfolio and digitalisation solutions are now starting to pay off,” he says. Besides this, business in the company’s established fields also developed very positively. “The results show that we are on the right track with our strategy,” believes Timmermann. Adjusted for currency effects, sales growth was even higher.
The Executive Board of the Weidmüller Group with Elke Eckstein (Chief Operating Officer and Chief Digital Officer), Jörg Timmermann (Spokesman of the Management Board and Chief Financial Officer) and José Carlos Álvarez Tobar (Chief Sales Officer) is very satisfied with 2017.
Sales increased in all divisions – strong growth through automation and digitalisation solutions
By restructuring the divisions into Device and Field Connectivity, Cabinet Products and Automation Products and Solutions in 2017, the company responded to the differences between the component and solution businesses. With success: in the past year, sales were improved considerably across all divisions, with Automation Products and Solutions achieving particularly strong growth of nearly 24%. “We now offer an extensive portfolio for automation and digitalisation, consisting of communication-capable components for providing and handling process data, the open, platform-independent automation kit u-mation, and tailored digitalisation solutions for optimising production performance,” explains José Carlos Álvarez Tobar, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. “But the demand for the Klippon Connect A-Series from our family of terminal blocks as well as our new services associated with this also exceeded our expectations.”
Takeovers and exploitation of growth markets strengthens position
The positive result was further supported by the takeover of Weidmüller sales companies in the USA, Canada and Mexico in October 2017. The acquisition made a considerable contribution to raising sales in the North America region by approximately 30% over the previous year. At the same time, Weidmüller invested in important growth markets in Southeast Asia by founding a Group company in India, a sales office in Taiwan and by acquiring the Malaysian distributor ConnectPlus Technology. “The acquisition supports our growth strategy in terms of industrial connectivity, communication and digitalisation,” asserts Álvarez Tobar. “Through this presence, we are able to consistently advance our strategy and our alignment towards automation and digitalisation solutions in the regions. We achieved noticeable effects in the first few months of the year alone.” Following the acquisitions, Weidmüller employed almost 4,700 staff worldwide at the end of 2017, with around 1,800 at its Detmold site.
Investments in research and development, as well as modernisation and expansion of the worldwide production network
Weidmüller invested EUR 44.6 million or almost 5% of its revenue in research and development in 2017. And this is set to continue in the future. “The construction of our Customer and Technology Centre in Detmold will be completed in the third quarter – the biggest investment in Weidmüller’s history and an important component in the development of new solutions and services,” explains Elke Eckstein, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Digitalisation Officer. In addition, an innovative research and development site is under construction in Paderborn as part of an investor project. Weidmüller is responsible for overall project management and will rent the building alongside the University of Paderborn and the Fraunhofer Institute. The company is driving concrete research projects as part of the “It’s OWL” technology network, which was recently extended by five years. It is represented by several projects exploring important topics of relevance for the future – including digital platforms, machine learning in production and the digital twin. At the same time, Weidmüller is also investing in the expansion and modernisation of its production capacities in order to be prepared for growing demands in the years to come. “Over the past year, we successfully upgraded metal production and surface finishing in Detmold, and expanded our production facilities in the Czech Republic,” says Eckstein. “In February, the groundbreaking ceremony took place for the merger and expansion of the production halls in the Chinese city of Suzhou.”
Involvement of the workforce in the cultural change brought about by digitalisation
Weidmüller will focus strongly on driving forward the change of culture and mentality in the future. To this end, the company is actively incorporating employees in the change process arising from digitalisation. “Digitalisation can only work together with employees. Actively approaching them and involving them in the process is a crucial aspect that we are currently working on intensively,” says Eckstein. “Ultimately, we are modifying our structures and organisation to become more agile and adapt faster to change. The employees take centre stage and are the key to success.”
Continued strong growth in 2018 through three directions of strategic thrust
In the future, Weidmüller aims to solidify its role as a partner for implementing digitalisation and offer customers solutions that make a key contribution to the digital transformation of industry. The company is keen to build on the progress achieved so far by means of its three directions of thrust – industrial connectivity, industrial communication and industrial digitalisation – and sustain its growth trajectory. “With these three directions of thrust, we will continue to grow in a dynamic, cutting-edge and sustainable way through to 2020. Thanks to good market prospects and a successful start to the 2018 financial year, we are confident of growing by over 8% in 2018 and closing the year with EUR 800 million in sales,” says Jörg Timmermann.
Weidmüller – your partner in industrial connectivity
As experienced experts, we support our customers and partners around the world with products, solutions and services in the industrial environment of power, signals and data. We are at home in their industries and markets and know the technological challenges of tomorrow. We are therefore continuously developing innovative, sustainable and useful solutions for their individual needs. Together we set standards in industrial connectivity. The Weidmüller Group owns manufacturing plants, sales companies and representatives in more than 80 countries. In the 2017 financial year, Weidmüller achieved sales of EUR 740 million with around 4,700 employees.
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